Modelling Soft Error Probability in Firmware: A Case Study

  • DG Kourie University of Pretoria


This case study involves an analysis of firmware that controls explosions in mining operations. The purpose is to estimate the probability that external disruptive events (such as electro-magnetic interference) could drive the firmware into a state which results in an unintended explosion. Two probabilistic models are built, based on two possible types of disruptive events: a single spike of interference, and a burst of multiple spikes of interference.The models suggest that the system conforms to the IEC 61508 Safety Integrity Levels, even under very conservative assumptions of operation.The case study serves as a platform for future researchers to build on when probabilistic modelling soft errors in other contexts.
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